The world of cookies is coming to an end. Until recently, cookies were paramount to understand customer behaviors and derive rich insights to offer tailored experiences. Cookies was how online merchants offered personalized solutions to their end users. And since users were provided a customized experience via cookies, they didn’t mind accepting cookies (for most times). So, if cookies have worked well for both users and brands, why are they going away?
- By 2023-end, Google plans to stop supporting third-party cookies on its Chrome browser, ending the decades of data-driven performance advertising actions.
- Apple’s 2021 iOS update featured a new consent protocol called App Tracking Transparency (ATT) to limit how app owners use data to optimize their campaigns.
Individuals want personalization and prefer brands that can provide it, but with the increased risks and threats around cybersecurity, they are concerned about sharing their personal information. At the same time, every online merchant needs some information like location, address, devices, even their childhood pet, and favorite color to offer similar and related experiences to their shoppers.
Here we discuss strategies that will empower merchants/retailers to balance privacy and personalization in the cookie-less era.
The rise of consent-based marketing in the cookie-less era
Google’s announcement of ending the support for third-party cookies on Chrome has gotten several brands worried about the loss of traction, attribution, and revenue that were accomplished with performance-based advertising. Over time, ad data and data-driven campaigns will decline, disrupting the buying and optimization process.
To best prepare for the cookie-less era, merchants need to follow a progressive form of data collection that only collects user data post their consent and use it to run data-driven marketing campaigns. With consent-led first-party data, strategic data partnerships, and next-gen technologies, you can forge innovative targeted advertising strategies and strengthen relationships with both new and existing customers. Ultimately, first-party data is not only about targeted marketing or email campaigns – it’s about how brands engage with their customers without collecting their private details exploitatively.
How brands are using first-party data for personalized experiences?
For most brands, shifting to the cookie-less era presents several challenges such as finding new ways for customer acquisition and offering personalized experiences without user data being readily available. Some of the effective ways are :
#1. Forge strategies to collect first-party data: First-party data can be hard to obtain, but when done properly and progressively, it allows the collection of accurate data that your shoppers have no problem in inputting. First-party data is how merchants can smoothly transition to the cookie-less world. Organizations must build a customer data platform (CDP) and move to contextual targeting strategies providing value to new customers. And since you don’t have to spend your marketing budget on collecting shopper information, you save a lot of money in the long run. With a robust first-party data strategy, brands are better positioned to deliver personalized, engaging experiences.
#2. Authenticated targeting: Authenticated targeting is when you use the precise and authentic information provided by users on the website along with the consent of using this data for promotional campaigns. This can appear in a form of pop-up or login screen when an individual enters a website to view content. With authenticated targeting, you can offer a personal touch to your marketing campaigns while amassing the goldmine of data about your customers.
#3. Contextual targeting: Contextual targeting enables companies to identify the interest of users without individual identification. For example, if a person browses for the best sports shoes, he might be interested in sportswear, a healthy lifestyle, or sporting goods. Now similar category companies can pitch content/products to users via contextual targeting and boost cross-selling/up-selling opportunities. This way brands can target an audience group based on their search context and offer relevant products/content/solutions.
#4. Email marketing: With email, marketing organizations can enable one-to-one communication with personalized content and tailor-made preferences. To achieve comprehensive communication with customers, businesses must constantly experiment with A/B testing. The results can be used in CDP platforms to scale AI solutions for targeted segments.
#5. Walled garden social login: Walled garden can be the right choice for some companies. It is called people-based marketing. Login with social media instead of a long process as it is a quicker alternative and beneficial for personalized experiences resulting in fetching precise information. Companies should consider using tactics to minimize loss of control over data and analytics in the cookie-less era.
How does Adobe Experience Cloud balance personalization and privacy?
As customer experience becomes a key differentiator amongst competing brands, organizations are investing more time on developing personalization strategies with first-party data. A leading eCommerce platform, Adobe Commerce lays strict protocols on extending personalized experiences while balancing the growing privacy concerns. Here are some ways Adobe achieves this goal:
#1: Authentication with real-time personalization
Brands can personalize their customer’s journey in real-time by responding to users in a fraction of a second via Adobe Target. This tool provides automated personalization features to match different offer variations and product recommendations for each visitor based on their profile and purchasing history. Their processes and settings are also compliant with data privacy laws.
#2: Customer data analytics
By unifying all the available data under a single system, businesses can gain a complete picture of how customers move across different channels, online and offline. Powered by Adobe Analytics, merchants leverage customer journey insights and interactions across mobile, web, and other marketing channels. With these insights, organizations can build high-value customer segments and deliver excellent experiences. Subsequently, Adobe Analytics incorporates better privacy support for data and personal information of users as per the established GDPR compliances.
#3: Customer journey and first-party data
With tools like Journey Orchestration of Adobe Experience Cloud, merchants empower their stores with speed, scalability, and intelligence required to automate unique customer journeys across channels. Moreover, the Journey Orchestration tool complies with policies with the patented data governance framework of Adobe Experience Platform, ensuring superior customer data privacy at all times.
#4: Content-rich shopping experiences with AEM
Integrating your eCommerce store with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) empowers merchants to offer content-rich and meaningful shopping experiences at scale across all digital channels. The uncomplicated integration process makes it easy for merchants to connect AEM with their online sites via APIs. The best part, it empowers brands to deliver content quickly, which otherwise would take weeks and months to author. With robust data encryption that does not compromise on data security, AEM offers personalized experiences to your shoppers.
#5: Personalized email marketing with Adobe Marketo
When it comes to personalized email marketing campaigns, Adobe Marketo Engage can help fuel lead nurturing and customer acquisition initiatives. With Adobe Marketo, you can modify your emails for each prospect based on insights and level of engagement from initial contact to purchase. When shoppers receive personalized emails, it encourages them to close purchases, resulting in improved engagement and ROI.
In terms of privacy, users who wish to not receive emails can opt out by unsubscribing. Once a user has unsubscribed from emails, Adobe Marketo will block all ongoing and future marketing emails from being sent. The best part, unless a user has access to the database, they cannot view the lead contact information.
The growing concern around customer data privacy has led organizations to explore alternative routes for collecting user data and offering personalized experiences. Although moving the cookie era to a cookieless one will present significant challenges, it will be an opportunity for merchants to gain better and more fruitful insights about their customers via first-party data. With the right roadmap, brands will be able to collect required and relevant data from their customers and use it to run tailored marketing campaigns along with powerful eCommerce platforms like Adobe Commerce.